How To Break A Bottomless Pit Day With 1 Move

Posted on May 25, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The only thing I hate more than having a bottomless pit day is realizing that I’m having one and obsessing over it. I see the same in a lot of healthy living blogs I read. To be fair, I can’t sympathize on how much it sucks to take pictures of snack after snack and post them for people who like to show all they eat(I do about 98% but every now and again I’ll grab an undocumented handful of baby carrots or something). But I haven’t had one in a long time, and I don’t think I will again, because I’ve got the one trick that breaks the bottomless pit feeling: Eat a meal.

If you’re hungry enough for a meal, even if it’s right after one or it’s not really a normal meal time, put down the apple you think might help your hunger and make something solid. Right after this post, I threw together a kitchen sink salad.

Caprese Chickpea Salad With Seasoned White Potato

Caprese Chickpea Salad With Seasoned White Potato

The “caprese” part of this was grape tomatoes, fresh basil, and raw probiotic mozzarella. With that were chickpeas and a quartered white potato. Delicious, no? Absolutely. Except it wasn’t all I needed after my run. Enter lunch #2:

Sweet And White Potato Homefries, Scrambled Eggs

Sweet And White Potato Homefries, Scrambled Eggs

After this, I felt much better, and like I had beaten my bottomless pit day. A simple mix of onion, sweet potato, and white potato in some olive oil and salt came out perfect. And between my vegan baking and the general lack of egg love, we have a ton(read: 2 dozen) of old eggs to use, so I did my part and ate a couple scrambled in all that oniony love. I guess it’s no surprise we have so many eggs when neither the ice cream nor the brownies I make call for them…

Vegan Chocolate Chip Blondie With Raw Chocolate Chip Cashew Gelato

Vegan Chocolate Chip Blondie With Raw Chocolate Chip Cashew Gelato

That would be an extra special blondie under a mountain of raw chocolate chip ice cream. J’adore this ice cream but I can’t wait to try new recipes by Gina once there’s room in my freezer! I continued to support that cause…

Raw Chocolate Chip Cashew Gelato

Raw Chocolate Chip Cashew Gelato

For dinner I had one huge craving to satisfy: steak. We served steak on Sunday night to our guests and had plenty of leftovers, but I really try to only eat grass-fed or local beef. It was worth waiting and pushing aside the craving until I could satisfy it with exactly what I wanted.

Grass Fed Steak With Caramelized Onions Over Asparagus And Arugala

Grass Fed Steak With Caramelized Onions Over Asparagus And Arugala

Oh my goodness, was this delicious. I’m pretty sure this was the fattiest cut of beef possible, but–hell–I took it and it did perfect. And considering a pound of the steak cost $7 while an entree at Tomasso’s of local beef is $24, I see big savings here.

What have you been craving of late? For me, it was the beef. Of course, now that I’ve discovered my love for onions cooked down in any and every fat, any excuse to eat more of those is also welcomed. Just beware of my breath.

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A Sweet Deal: Local Raw Honey

Posted on May 22, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update | Tags: , , , |

If you’ve been reading for the past week, you’d know my newest obsession: local, raw honey.

Raw Local Honey

Raw Local Honey

You’ve seen me eat it on yogurt…

Plain Chobani With Local Raw Honey

Plain Chobani With Local Raw Honey

And all by itself…

Raw Local Honey

Raw Local Honey

Of course, honey is new to none. And I’ve used it to bake plenty of times before. So why the obsession? Local honey is simply not “just” another sweetener or sugar substitute. I hope to convince you by the end that this is some of the best medicine for your body and soul.

Honey is produced from bees. Specifically, a beekeeper takes the honeycombs from the hive and squeezes out the honey often through a strainer like a cheesecloth. Mass-produced honey is often heated to high temperatures to make it the translucent, neutrally flavored sweetener found in supermarkets. “Raw” honey is never heated above the temperature of the hives, keeping the enzymes in tact and making for a thicker, more crystallized product.

Raw honey can be bought at most natural grocer’s stores and even Trader Joe’s now. However, while this is marginally better than mass-produced honey, I would assert that it’s not what you should be looking for. The real health benefits of honey lie in locally produced jars. Look for these at a farmer’s market, or even some small natural grocers might be supplied by local producers.

Local honey has a laundry list of benefits. Like all honey, it’s a source of energy. It lubricates the throat. It can aid poor digestion and keeps bad bacteria from growing in the stomach(source). The greatest benefit from local honey comes from the allergens. Because it’s unpasteurized, the allergens from the air which the bees fed on is still present. And because it’s local, this is the same allergens in the air which you yourself breed. And so, by eating the honey, you’re introducing these to your body, but in a limited form. By doing so, you build your resistance to the allergens(source). A lot of people–including myself–would swear by raw honey as protection against these over the Summer.

Manuka honey from New Zealand is prized as one of the most holistic, but runs a high price. Trader Joe’s honey is raw, but manufactured in Mexico. And so, which is the best for you? I would argue whichever is produced closest to home. That way, the allergens the bees feed off of are most similar to the ones you breathe. Look for honey producers at a farmers’ market.

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My And Rachael Ray’s Best Friend

Posted on May 17, 2010. Filed under: Health | Tags: , |

Before I dive into today’s subject, a quick recap from the weekend:

Today I’ve gone to my old high school’s graduation. I can’t wait to see the entire class I used to know, only younger, and all my old teachers. This reminds me of when I went back to my elementary school; I’m sure it will feel weird at first but be a blast in the end. Have you ever gone back to old places? Did things change or stay the same?

In the mean time, I wanted to draw your attention to something I can not live without: Extra Virgin Olive Oil, or, as RR would say, EVOO.

First of all, what is it? Extra virgin olive oil is the oil from the first pressing of freshly picked, raw olives. It’s a dietary fat liquid at room temperature which contains 14% saturated fat, mostly monounsaturated fats, and about a 1:15 omega 3:omega 6 ratio. Extra virgin has the most pungent flavor and is the least refined of the olive oils.

Extra Virgin Olive Oils

Extra Virgin Olive Oils

Extra virgin olive oil was the only liquid fat I used  in my dorm, and I used it quite a bit. I love it to roast vegetables, as in my sweet potato fries, or simple broccoli. It’s great to heat in a pan and cook potato chunks, or to drizzle over a chickpea salad.

I mentioned in this post all the ways I like to save money by buying store brand. Olive oil is one of the foods that I would say you do not want to be cheap on. Splurge! A good bottle will last and it is worth the investment. I love bringing back olive oil from Europe whenever I’ve gone on vacation there.

Sicilian Olive Oil

Sicilian Olive Oil

This olive oil was recently 50% off at Whole Foods and I literally cannot wait to finish my old bottle and open this up. Each olive oil taste different depending on the season, the olives, the location, and every other factor. And extra virgin tastes moreso different because it’s the most pungent in flavor.

Grecian Olive Oil

Grecian Olive Oil

My own personal favorite olive oil comes from Greece(I suppose this was bound to happen being a Classicist). Don’t be afraid to try different olive oils to find the one right for you. Traditional practice has it that you dip bread in a saucer to give each a try, but I wouldn’t judge if you sipped a spoonful straight 😉

This post even has great tips on how to fancify your own oil.

Vegan, Gluten-Free Cake

Vegan, Gluten-Free Cake

And did you know that chocolate and olive oil pair really well together in baked goods? When I baked this cake, I made the curious substitution of EVOO for canola oil. Could you taste it? Yes. But it was in an absolutely beautiful way. Cocoa powder is naturally bitter(especially non-alkalined which I buy); it needs sugar to make it sweet and fat to make it rich. Olive oil lends a fruitiness to the chocolate.

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Free Of Nothing; Full Of Nutrition

Posted on May 14, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health, Recipe | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I had a sobering thought on my run today. I hate “veganism”. “What? But I love all my vegan meals and recipes.” That was my next thought. But I kept going back and realizing I really do hate the label, “vegan”.

So then I asked myself “Why?”

Local Hereford Beef

Local Hereford Beef

*Note: I did not eat this today, or any meat. The only non-vegan things I had were a yogurt at breakfast and brownie made with eggs in the afternoon*

Frankly, I’ve known too many people going vegan or vegetarian to avoid certain things for “health”, things like cholesterol and animal fats. And then once a year–probably on their birthday–, they’d have a big juicy steak. “Once and a while won’t kill”. Well of course it’s not going to kill you; but no one can say the same for the cow.

I think there are a lot of ways you can be healthy without strapping on the vegetarian label and shunning things out of your life. That’s not why I eat vegan at the meals and times I do. Rather, it’s to bring certain nutrients in.

Black Beans, Daiya, Avocado, Salsa, And Spinach

Black Beans, Daiya, Avocado, Salsa, And Spinach

My lunch wasn’t healthy because of the absence of animal products; it was healthy because of the abundance of plant-based foods. That, to me, is what veganism is all about: The emphasis of a plant based diet. As much as I’d love to think that way 24/7, I’ll undoubtedly slip up sometime and look at something for being “dairy-free” or “free of animal by products”. What I really wish I could see 100% of the time is how something is free of nothing, but full of nutrition.

Gluten-Free Brownie With Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Gluten-Free Brownie With Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Of course, allergens play a role in this, too. But I would count those as a separate case. A lactose-intolerant person would eat coconut milk ice cream for a very different reason than a vegan. I’m–well–I’m neither. But I love how this tastes and feels, and do try to avoid dairy to some extent for better digestion.

Willoughby's Local Gluten-Free Brownie

Willoughby's Local Gluten-Free Brownie

And the brownie was likewise free of dairy and gluten(an allergen I do take care to avoid).

Vegan Tiger Fudge

Vegan Tiger Fudge

Desserts in general, though, I would say get a pass on ever being “healthy”. No matter how you cut it(a fudge joke), my microwave vegan chocolate fudge and microwave vegan peanut butter fudge are full of sugar. That doesn’t mean they aren’t full of flavor, either, or that you shouldn’t make them 😉

9 Miles

9 Miles

That fueled me to run around my neighborhood 8 times for a total of 9 miles. Perhaps my legume love isn’t such a terribly beneficial thing since I needed to make a pit stop into the bathroom after lap 6. At least I was close to home and didn’t go on a road run like I was thinking.

Organic Fuji Apple

Organic Fuji Apple

Organic Baby Carrots

Organic Baby Carrots

Afterwards I refueled with my lunch posted earlier, and when that wasn’t enough I added an apple. Later on, at the grocery store, I grabbed a bag of baby carrots to eat in the car(or the walk out of the store). If you went through a list of the allergens raw fruits and veggies are “free of”, we’d be here all day; it’s better to think of all the nutrition they’re “full of” in my mind. And tonight was “full of” recipes:

Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized sweet potato
  • 2 teaspoons EVOO
  • salt to taste

Cut the ends off of a sweet potato. Slice all the way through horizontally. With the cut side down, make strips 1/2-3/4 inch thick. Cut those again lengthwise to make into “fry” shapes. Repeat with the other 1/2. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Add the fries and EVOO to the pan and massage with your hands until completely covered. Preheat an oven to 350 and bake for 60 minutes. Season to taste.

Vegan BBQ Bean Poutine

Ingredients

  • 1 serving sweet potato fries
  • 1/2 cup vegan BBQ beans
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella style Daiya
  • 2 strips tempeh bacon(optional)
  • 3 pieces fresh basil

Cook the sweet potato fries according to directions. Pile on a plate, and add on top the BBQ beans. Heat in the microwave through for about 2 minutes. Add on the Daiya and heat another 30 seconds to melt. If using, cook the tempeh bacon through until crispy according to manufacturer’s directions. Cut into small pieces and crumble on top. Garnish with basil.

Organic Pickles

Organic Pickles

Served with a side of organic pickles. Such a simple and delicious meal for one(I’m the only one home tonight). What are you full of today? I would have to say that I’m full of beans!! and also joy that I got so much on my to-do list done. The only thing I hope for this weekend to be “free of” is stress before my last final, because that’s been giving me plenty of that.

If you enjoyed my What Would You Do moment, the actual show is on at 9pm tonight on ABC so watch that!

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“I’m A Runner. I Can Eat Whatever I Want”

Posted on May 13, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I hear it all the time, either on the Runner’s World forums or in real life: “A runner can eat whatever they want”. Let me tear this one to shreds. First of all, are we all really “runners”? at least in this sense? I do think that there’s little difference between anyone who runs a mile for fun or 10 miles for fun. But there’s a BIG difference between people who run for fun and people like Ryan Hall who run for a living. Now those are runners.

OK. Let’s assume we are all runners. The same rules of life still apply. That’s why my first point is to listen to what mom always said and have your 3 balanced meals each and every day.

Black Bean And Potato Salad With Daiya And Salsa

Black Bean And Potato Salad With Daiya And Salsa

Dinner last night was a simple medley of black beans and organic russet potato over spinach and topped with Daiya. Yes, I really was just eating everything else as a way to have Daiya. But I thought this would be better than eating it straight from the bag to get more nutrients, don’t you think?

Moldy Chobani

Moldy Chobani

Some things none of us can eat, like moldy yogurt. Yeah, this wasn’t the most pleasant way to start my day.

Vegan GF Midnight Chocolate Cupcakes

Vegan GF Midnight Chocolate Cupcakes

And other things we could eat but probably shouldn’t. Case in point: these cupcakes for breakfast. I know people who would call a cupcake a “muffin” if it’s eaten before 10am. But with no whole grains, and little of–well–anything, these would not have been kind to me during my 14 miler I have planned. That’s when I made a new plan for breakfast:

Oatmeal With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Oatmeal With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Pomegranate Chobani With Dark Chocolate Almonds

Pomegranate Chobani With Dark Chocolate Almonds

Much better. A new yogurt, topped with Tierra Farm‘s organic dark chocolate almonds, and oatmeal topped with vanilla peanut butter made with Madhava vanilla agave. Sure, there was sugar here. But there was also 30+ grams of protein, 20g whole grains, 20g bran, healthy fat and antioxidant from cacao and pomegranate. This was most definitely one of my “balanced meals”.

I don’t want to make the case that a runner always has to eat healthy; that’s a dangerous mindset I hear too much, too. The truth is, balance is the key. At a certain point, a calorie is a calorie and a runner might just need more to do more. That’s where dessert comes in.

Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream With Coconut PB And Coconut Oil Chocolate

Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream With Coconut PB And Coconut Oil Chocolate

Indulgent? Sugary? Delicious? All of the above. Still, I try to find some nutrition in my desserts, which is why I often reach for coconut products. The saturated fat in coconut is medium chain, making it easier for our bodies to break down to energy than long chain. And it’s plant based so it has no cholesterol. Besides that, it just is easier for me to digest than dairy. What more could I say to get you on the coconut train?

Oatmeal With Chunky PB And Organic Dark Chocolate

Oatmeal With Chunky PB And Organic Dark Chocolate

And if I’m notorious for anything, it’s my nightly bowl of oatmeal with nut butter. Do what you want. But the warm carbs are great for a good night’s sleep. And this is nothing but a healthy dessert. And those squares of Endangered Species organic smooth dark chocolate–all for the antioxidants 😉

Fudge

Fudge

So I guess I can’t play the runner’s card to attack this pan anymore, huh? Well it will still be there if and when I finish running 14 miles. The sun is shining and things are heating up so if ever that’s happening it will be soon. Tonight’s post will be a recipe-packed post with all of your ice cream suggestions and what’s in the pan above.

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It’s Time To Get New Pants

Posted on May 11, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

I noticed a funny thing yesterday. My jeans which have always been a bit big are starting to fit better, and the ones that have traditionally fit well seem a bit tight and uncomfortable. Being a guy, my first two thoughts were a) I’ve been shrinking everything in the laundry or b) someone else had them be altered to mess with me. That’s when option c hit me.

It might actually be me who’s growing out of them

My gut response was the typical “healthy living blogger” way of seeing it: I’ll eat out a little less, cut down on the sugars, and things will go back to the way they were. And then I thought about it. What if I didn’t adjust to fit the pants; what if the pants adjusted to fit me?

EVOO Seared Sweet Potato And Chickpeas

EVOO Seared Sweet Potato And Chickpeas

I’m still healthy and eating my superfoods.

Rehydrating

Rehydrating

I’m running faster and further than ever before.

Local Hereford Beef

Local Hereford Beef

And I’m enjoying eating out including brunch at fantastic new places.

In short, why would I want to change any of this? I love this! Underneath clothes, we’re all naked; what does it matter what size they are? Be healthy, but be happy. And if happy leads you to a shopping spree at that incredible French clothing store, Targe, with a buttload of gift cards to get jeans from the 75% off rack, so be it.

Who else is willing to throw out the old and put on the new with me?

Whole Foods' Salad Bar Food

Whole Foods' Salad Bar Food

Not only did I go to Whole Foods last night, I ate out, too. This was my last dinner of Providence, so I was prepared to make it a good one even if I had the ingredients for something much more humble back at my room. I got from the salad bar roasted carrots, potatoes, and onions with paprika, avocado rubbed kale, and golden sesame tofu. All delicious. All making me grow out of my pants. All good.

They didn’t have the coconut almond chip coconut milk ice cream I went all the way to get. Bummer, right? I was pretty let down. That’s when I made a plan and got the regular coconut ice cream and add Tierra Farm‘s almonds.

Coconut Ice Cream With Almonds

Coconut Ice Cream With Almonds

I really liked the bare coconut flavor. This ice cream had just 6 ingredients and 11g of sugar per serving–unreal! It was a little chewy even because of the coconut flakes. It was definitely a good ice cream for anyone who likes to add their own mix-ins.

Aztec Crunch Lulu's Bar And Cashew Butter

Aztec Crunch Lulu's Bar And Cashew Butter

I never got hungry for oatmeal, but I did still want the nut butter and I can always go for chocolate. I was worried whether I’d like Aztec Crunch because I’m not a fan of raw cacao nibs(part of the crunch). But this really blew me away. It was raw, but not bitter. It definitely had a solid crunch. One of the ingredients is said to have magical soothing powers; I’m not sure if it was the chocolate or the ingredient but I was definitely soothed.

Of course, the other side to new pants is the completely metaphorical side: fitting your surroundings to fit how you want to be. As much as I love oatmeal, I’m willing to toss it by the landside if I’m craving something else. And this morning, I had a huge white potato craving.

Maple Salmon, White Potato Home Fries

Maple Salmon, White Potato Home Fries

Home Fries

Home Fries

Home fries, anyone? I think I’m still getting past the shock and awe that I made these and not some restaurant, because they’re so delicious. It was just 1 1/2 white potatoes tossed in a pan for a while with some red onion in EVOO. It would be great with sage or rosemary but I didn’t have any. To make this more of a meal and less of a breakfast, I added flaked salmon with maple syrup and sea salt. Definitely not as good as the home fries; but that’s where the extra maple syrup comes in handy.

And how about this for new pants: I’m moving out tonight =-O

If the pants do not fit, you must acquit

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Stock Your Kitchen For Healthy Habits

Posted on May 5, 2010. Filed under: Health | Tags: |

One of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when I went chose an all-natural diet around 10 months ago was “How am I going to not want to slip up?” It was easy then to see myself reaching for a diet soda from the corner whenever I started wanting one. But slowly and surely the fake stuff started leaving the pantry and not being replaced. My environment was actually helping by making the fake food out of sight and out of mind. And eating healthy is a lot like that, too.

1. Put in your peripheral what you want to eat

I recognize this is a lot harder for people living with others and full families; but if you keep around you only the good, healthy foods, there’s little option to eat otherwise. At the very least what you can do is keep fresh fruit and veggies always at arms reach and desserts, snacks, and ice cream out of sight(, out of mind) and out of reach. And if you’re living in a house with mixed eaters, here’s a tip: Give each person their own personal shelf in the pantry with foods only they can eat.

2. Don’t buy food; buy ingredients

Source

Say what? Here me out because this one I think makes the most sense. Rather than buy a prepackaged, pre-flavored container of Mexican rice, buy regular rice and keep spices on hand. Don’t grab a tuna salad from the Deli; just always keep a can of tuna in your pantry. By buying ingredients and making food for yourself, you control a lot including portions and calories. It’s even better that you can adjust it just to your tastes! It may take a little extra time, but if you can’t find 5 minutes to get serious about your own health, there are bigger problems.

3. Invest in staples and paper clips

When you go to the store, do you have a routine list of foods(or rather, ingredients) that you always get? Why not? The healthy foods we eat and want to eat we should always keep around. The “pantry staples” can be lifesavers in those grab-and-go moments. Here are some of mine:

365 Beans And Fish

365 Beans And Fish

Pantry:

Refrigerator/Freezer:

  • Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Fruits & Veggies
  • Quality Cheese
  • Healthy Sauces & Condiments
  • Earth Balance
  • Grass-Fed Butter
  • Naturally-Raised, Hormone-Free Meats
  • Fudge

4. Make your dessert and eat it, too

Vegan Chocolate Fudge

Vegan Chocolate Fudge

No kitchen is complete without things like sugar, flour, and cocoa; and no house is a home without dessert and that fresh apple pie cooling on the windowsill. So have your dessert, but make it be one you’ve made. This has two advantages: First, you can always make the substitutions to make it fit your diet. Both my banana goodness bread and moist moist pumpkin bread have very little to no added fat to them. If you’re not making the healthy substitutions, like with my microwave vegan fudge, at least you have a better awareness of just what’s in it rather than if you bought it at the store. And this awareness will lead to a healthier appreciation of however much you do eat.

What are you kitchen staples? Let’s get a list going and I’ll make a big one on my next post!

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How To Be A Smart And Healthy Shopper

Posted on April 30, 2010. Filed under: Health | Tags: , , , , , |

Today I went grocery shopping. I did a lot right, but also some things wrong. I hope this post to be a reminder to both you and me for the ways of healthy shopping. *And if you never read my post on how to save at Whole Foods, here it is.

Do: How far is the store? I walked to my Whole Foods today, which is 1.2 miles away. If a store is nice and close, you can and should enjoy the walk for activity. Even if it’s not close, you might be able to get there through an alternative method like public transportation, especially if you live in a city. All this can be better for you and the environment.

Groceries

Groceries

Groceries

Groceries

Do: Have a mental list. I knew exactly what groceries I wanted.

Do: Shop where the healthy groceries are. Is trail mix and cereals your weakness? Don’t go to that section of the store. Keep yourself surrounded by fresh vegetables and that’s all you’ll have the chance to put in to your cart.

Don’t: Shop while you’re hungry. Not only can it lead to impulse buys, but those often won’t be the healthiest choices. If you do find yourself in this situation, do buy some fresh fruit and eat it as a snack while shopping.

Don’t: Go to the cashier without having your coupons ready. I did this and ended up not using any because I felt so disorganized. I still got all the benefits of store sales, but I could have saved at least an extra dollar or two if I had coupons ready.

Reusable Shopping Bag

Reusable Shopping Bag

Do: Bring reusable shopping bags. They both save waste from the environment and many stores these days will offer discounts to shoppers who use them.

Don’t: Forget to give your grocery bag to the bagger.

Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds

Daiya Mozzarella Style Shreds

Don’t: Buy things without having a plan for them. I’ve been dying to try daiya soy-free, dairy-free vegan cheese. But I honestly have no clue how or when I’ll use it. I have no GF pizza crust, not tomato sauce, nothing my Italian side would know what to do with. I’m determined to eat it now that I have it, but I wish I had planned better.

Rice Whip

Rice Whip

Do: Look for the least processed items that fit your lifestyle. Ideally, I would love to buy local cream and whip it myself; that’s just not happening in a dorm room. The two options the store had was Non-fat, sugar-free 365 brand whipped cream or Rice Whip(they were out of regular whipped cream). The ingredient list of the Rice Whip was simpler and more recognizable, so I chose that.

Do: Pick your proteins right. I always make a point to buy hormone and nitrate-free poultry, as well as grass-fed beef. It’s slightly more expensive but it has less saturated fat and more omega-3’s, which to me is worth the extra money.

Are you a smart and healthy shopper? What are your tips and tricks? Share in the comments! And here’s a teaser from my eats today; happy Friday Sundae to me!

Soy-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Sundae

Soy-Free, Dairy-Free Chocolate Sundae

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Can Carob Compete?

Posted on April 30, 2010. Filed under: Daily Update, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Before last night, I had never tried carob.

Mint Carob Bar

Mint Carob Bar

I had known about it for months now, and even have had this bar since November. Still, I hadn’t really tried carob, not because of what it is, but because of what it isn’t: chocolate. Carob has been marketed as “the new, healthy chocolate”. Hold the phone; what was wrong with our old chocolate? Chocolate-specifically cocoa powder which is found in higher concentrations in dark chocolate–can be packed with antioxidants. Dark chocolate only has fat from cocoa butter and relatively low added sugar. Carob, on the other hand, has no antioxidants and inherently more sugar than cocoa. The only advantage might come in its lack of caffeine, or for anyone allergic to chocolate(if you are, I am so so sorry you have to sit through 90% of what I eat). But how did it taste?

Mint Carob Bar

Mint Carob Bar

This certainly was sweeter than dark chocolate, and it’s hard to tell if that’s from a disproportionate amount of carob/cocoa powder or because carob naturally has higher sugar content. The texture was what threw me; this was rather chalky, and not at all smooth like my favorite dark chocolate. As for the benefits of carob, it’s easier to obtain in its raw state than cacao. It also boasts more calcium(or, in its case, calci-yum). I did like it, but I’m certainly not running out to buy carob powder or recommending it to anyone not allergic to chocolate(again, sorry!).

Baby Carrots And Broccoli

Baby Carrots And Broccoli

I also had healthy snacks like baby carrots and tiny broccoli florets. Actually, I ate this right after my dinner post. I love roasted broccoli, but it’s about 1/2 as filling as steamed broccoli, and 1/10 as filling as raw. Don’t get me wrong, though: The flavor is a thousand times better. Can you tell I’m good with numbers, particularly food math?

70% Dark Chocolate With Vanilla Peanut Butter

70% Dark Chocolate With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Like I said, chocolate is irreplaceable. The texture is smoother; the flavor is richer; and think of all those antioxidants! I enjoyed Endangered Species Organic Smooth Dark Chocolate with a shmear of 365 peanut butter sweetened by Madhava vanilla agave. The chocolate bar looks damaged because it was in my pocket all last Friday and got melted along the way, but it tasted delicious. And I was so happy Grey’s Anatomy was back new last night! That show has had me addicted since Season 1.

Oatmeal With Vanilla Peanut Butter

Oatmeal With Vanilla Peanut Butter

This morning I actually forced myself to sleep in until 8; otherwise I just wouldn’t have known what to do with myself. I muddled around/read blogs until I was hungry for breakfast. It was more of my non-chocolate addiction:365 peanut butter sweetened by Madhava vanilla agave. I have yet to see this agave in a store, but if I do I’m buying them out. And I’m sure the overall price is better than buying a fancy nut butter, since 365 only cost me $1(Get those Whole Deal coupons before they go!).

Plain Yogurt With Raspberry Conserves And Vanilla Almond Butter

Plain Yogurt With Raspberry Conserves And Vanilla Almond Butter

Of course, fancy nut butter will always be a part of my life, like vanilla almond butter from Naturally Nutty. I prefer things like nuts or trail mix on my yogurt so much more than granola; and I never have to think if it’s gluten-free or not!

Have you tried carob? Like it or not? It was fine, really; but it will never be a part of my life like chocolate is.

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